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Rogue intelligence technician Edward Snowden, who leaked information on spying by the United States, has left the Moscow airport where he was holed up, his lawyer said on Thursday.
Snowden has received temporary asylum for a year in Russia, his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told AFP, after staying more than a month at the airport.
The following is a chronology of key dates in the case.
-- JUNE 2013 --
- 5: British newspaper The Guardian reveals the existence of a secret US court order forcing US telephone company Verizon to provide the National Security Agency with daily information on its customers' calls, from April to July.
- 6: The Washington Post and The Guardian report that the NSA and the FBI have access to servers of major Internet companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google and Facebook to monitor the web traffic of people outside the United States.
- 7: President Barack Obama says the United States has to find a balance between privacy and security.
- 9: As US authorities announce the start of an investigation, Snowden, in hiding in Hong Kong since May 20, reveals himself to be the source of the leak.
- 21: Snowden is charged with espionage by US authorities, who ask officials in Hong Kong to arrest him.
- 22: In an article published in the Hong Kong daily the South China Morning Post, Snowden says that the US government has also hacked Chinese mobile phone companies to gather millions of text messages.
- 23: Snowden flies to Moscow but does not emerge with other passengers.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says Snowden is in the transit zone at Sheremetyevo Airport.
The United States revokes Snowden's passport.
- 24: A Russian plane that is expected to carry Snowden to Cuba leaves Moscow without him on board, sending dozens of journalists on a $2,000, 12-hour wild-goose chase.
- 30: German weekly Der Spiegel says the European Union was another target of Washington's spy programme, sparking demands for explanations from EU, French and German officials.
-- JULY --
- 1: Putin says Snowden is welcome to stay in Russia if he stops leaking intelligence reports and insists "Russia never hands over anybody anywhere".
WikiLeaks reveals he has sent asylum requests to 21 nations.
- 2: Austria, Brazil, Finland, Germany, Iceland, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain -- later followed by France and Italy -- all refuse to grant Snowden asylum.
- 3: A diplomatic spat erupts after a flight carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales is forced to stop in Vienna, over suspicions he was travelling with Snowden.
- 5: Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela say they are willing to take him in.
- 12: Snowden tells a group of activists at the Moscow airport that he wants to claim asylum in Russia until he can go legally to Latin America.
Obama speaks with Putin after the White House warns Moscow not to give Snowden a "propaganda platform."
- 14: Journalist Glenn Greenwald says that Snowden has data that could prove far more "damaging" to the US but has chosen not to release them.
- 15: Putin accuses the US of "trapping" Snowden in Moscow, and says he would leave Russia as soon as possible.
- 16: Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, lawyer Anatoly Kucherena tells AFP.
- 17: Putin says Moscow's relations with Washington outweigh the "squabbles" over Snowden.
- 19: A secret US court renews the government's authority to pursue the controversial phone surveillance program.
- 23: Attorney General Eric Holder tells Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov that Washington will not seek the death penalty against Snowden, nor torture him, if he is sent back to the US.
-- AUGUST --
- 1: Snowden has left Sheremetyevo airport for a safe location that will not be disclosed for security reasons, Kucherena says.